Today, on a remote stretch of the Elwha River in northwestern Washington state, a demolition crew hired by the National Park Service plans to detonate a battery of explosives within the remaining section of the Glines Canyon Dam. If all goes well, the blasts will destroy the last 30 feet of the 210-foot-high dam and will signal the culmination of the largest dam-removal project in the world.
In Asia, Africa, and South America, large hydroelectric dams are still being built, as they once were in the United States, to power economic development, with the added argument now that the electricity they provide is free of greenhouse gas emissions. But while the U.S. still benefits from the large dams it built in the 20th century, there’s a growing recognition that in some cases, at least, dambuilding went too far—and the Elwha River is a symbol of that.
The removal of the Glines Canyon Dam and the Elwha Dam, a smaller downstream dam, began in late 2011. Three years later, salmon are migrating past the former dam sites, trees and shrubs are sprouting in the drained reservoir beds, and sediment once trapped behind the dams is rebuilding beaches at the Elwha’s outlet to the sea. For many, the recovery is the realization of what once seemed a far-fetched fantasy.
"Thirty years ago, when I was in law school in the Pacific Northwest, removing the dams from the Elwha River was seen as a crazy, wild-eyed idea," says Bob Irvin, president and CEO of the conservation group American Rivers. "Now dam removal is an accepted way to restore a river. It’s become a mainstream idea."
Blue-cheeked Jacamar - Galbula cyanicollis
Also referred to as Blue-necked Jacamar, Galbula cyanicollis (Piciformes - Galbulidae) is considered a species complex found across southern Amazonia, from eastern Peru and parts of Bolivia to east Amazonian Brazil.
This species can be easily distinguished by the yellow lower mandible and the bluish head and neck sides.
Photo credit: ©Ciro Albano | Locality: Brazil (2013)
One of the biggest problems for conservation today is that it ignores 95% of all known species on Earth. Could a company ignored that proportion of its clients or a government so many of its voters? So why does this problem exist in conservation?
Some 90% of all of the Earth’s species are either invertebrates or micro-organisms, and the folly of ignoring the latter is encapsulated by UK Professor Tom Curtis writing in Nature Reviews Microbiology:I make no apologies for putting micro-organisms on a pedestal above all other living things, for if the last blue whale choked to death on the last panda, it would be disastrous but not the end of the world. But if we accidentally poisoned the last two species of ammonia-oxidisers, that would be another matter. It could be happening now and we wouldn’t even know […]
Ammonia oxidisers are naturally occurring bacteria that are essential for maintaining the most economically valuable nutrient in soil: nitrogen. They are good examples of the other millions of mostly tiny soil species, either microbial or invertebrate, upon which all agriculture and forestry depends.
Their astonishing genetic, chemical, metabolic and population properties are those that generate the essential processes, such as nitrogen cycling, that drive all the primary industries. This being so, the primary industries are obviously biodiversity-based industries.
Yet we are confronted every day with a wide range of opinion that agriculture and forestry are the greatest threats to biodiversity. So how bad is this disconnect?
aliens arrive on earth but all they want to talk about is plants. scientists frantically question the aliens for days about secrets of space travel and civilization on other worlds but they always respond with “check out this fern”
(via exxclusivepants)#literally me as an interstellar traveler